Art glass of the XVIII-XXI century
Art glass of the XVIII-XXI century
Glass of the East
In the collection of the Omsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts named after MA Vrubel, the collection of glass works can be considered one of the most significant in Siberia. Now it has almost 800 exhibits.
The history of the formation of the MA Vrubel OOMI is typical for many regional museums. It began in the 1920s, when works of sculpture, painting, graphic arts and arts and crafts were transferred from the State Museum Fund from 1924 to 1928 in the Zapadno-Siberian Regional Museum, which became the basis of the Art Department.
In the 1930s, the process of replenishing the artistic part of the collection is slowing down, the main task of the museum is the propaganda of the “socialist way of life.” Archival materials from that period testify to the issuance of valuables “for needs” to various organizations, “seizures for sale”, as well as losses, embezzlements and write-offs “in connection with natural disasters”. Quantitatively, the works of arts and crafts, especially porcelain and glass, were particularly affected. But despite the difficulties, the collection of the Art Department continued to be replenished, mainly through donations.
In June 1940, the Art Department of the Regional Museum, often referred to as the “Art”, the “Picture” gallery, gets an independent status and becomes the Omsk State Museum of Fine Arts (since 19S4 – regional, since 1995 – Omsk Regional Museum named after MA Vrubel ). However, it is not possible to obtain a separate room. and for many years two museums are located in the building of the former General-Governor’s Palace.
In 1978, the meeting of the OOMI, which had been entirely under the authority of the chief curator, was divided into collections, and each acquired an independent custodian. From this time, it became possible to study more closely all the collections, their replenishment and organization of exhibitions. Episodic before this proceeds from the Ministry of Culture of the RSFSR and the USSR are becoming more frequent and together with the museum’s purchases help to fill some gaps in the collection. Interesting exhibitions devoted to a variety of subjects, encourage artists, collectors and visitors to new gifts. Priority for the fund of ceramics and glass was the acquisition of works of art by leading masters of the XX century, previously sparingly represented in the collection.
In 1984 a new building was built for the Museum of History and Local Lore, and the collection of OOMI, which had grown considerably by that time, took up vacant areas for stock rooms. In 1996, the second building of the museum, known now as the “Vrubel Vse Kiy Kory”, opens to visitors. The museum has the opportunity to implement large-scale projects with the active participation of works of ceramics. However, glass still had a secondary role.
Exhibition “Crystal Palace. Art Glass XVIII-XXI centuries “, open to the 90th anniversary of the museum – the first major project dedicated to glass. The idea to display the collection in all the exposition areas of the Governor General’s Palace was made complex, turning it into a specialized “glass and crystal museum” for a time.
The idea was initially almost bold, because the collection of museum glass is heterogeneous and fragmented, it has gaps in the time, geographic and style frameworks, there are almost no rare techniques for decorating glass.
Curator of the exhibition “Crystal Palace” has developed a thematic solution of the exposition: in each of the six rooms with its name reflected the temporary, geographical and technological aspects of the development of world glassmaking.
The main difference of the exposition was the absence of daylight. In the dark halls, the glass glistens, shimmers and sparkles, illuminated from below in shop windows and on the catwalks. Reflecting in the mirrors, it creates an atmosphere of fairy-tale, causing admiration and captivating the viewer into dreams of unearthly beauty.
The spectator meets one of the treasures of the museum collection – the throne chair of the last Russian Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. His palace purpose strengthens the name of the exhibition – “Crystal Palace”, and Buddhist motives set the theme of the hall. The exotics of the East are demonstrated both in the authentic things of China and Japan, as well as in European cues “in oriental tastes” – peculiar fantasies with their own understanding of the beauty of oriental art, admiration for its achievements.
China represents an artificial bonsai – a flowering tree of the May plum, Japan – a milky glass cup imitating porcelain with traditional painting. Works by masters of South Bohemia in imitation of Japan, made of hyalite glass, resemble lacquer boxes: their black color is effectively underlined by gilded dragons in the mural; products of Northern Bohemia, decorated in the technique of “combed” colored threads, evoke in memory Egyptian balsamaria.
The vases of the famous French laminated glass, made in the etching technique at the enterprises of Emile Galle, the Dom brothers and at the Russian plant in Gus-Khrustalnoy, represent the Art Nouveau style, which, as is known, arose not without the influence of Japanese art.
The works of the Imperial Glass Factory in St. Petersburg by its form and painted with colored enamels refer the visitor’s attention to the art of Persia and Byzantium. Unusually exhibited fluorescent uranium glass of Russian factories: the lower illumination of the display window with LED lamps is replaced by ultraviolet, creating a striking effect of the internal glow of the glass.
Massive glasses of Bohemian glass and German vases, more like big goblets, support the theme of palace splendor. It continues the items of Russian production – shtoff and glasses with engraved monograms of Elizabeth Petrovna and Catherine IL. Here, too, are stops with carved daisies and grapes, ceremonial cups with pastoral and hunting scenes, decorated in the technique of matte engraving – the most recent reception of cold glass processing.
In the room are also items from the private collection of Omsk Eugene Nikolayevich Zhuravlev. The most noteworthy among them are bottles for snuff that belong to the period of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Early snuffboxes of Chinese masters in the form of small bottles, equipped with a thin miniature spoon, were worn on the belt and had a very simple shape. Quickly losing their utilitarian purpose, they become only objects of admiration. The best quality snuffboxes were first produced in Beijing court workshops, where a method of embossed processing of a surface glass was used, the number of multi-colored layers of which could reach up to ten.
Art glass of the XVIII-XXI century
The exhibition shows snuffboxes in the form of carp and cicada, cabbage salad and Peking cabbage, pumpkin and bamboo. They are most reminiscent of stone products, whimsically and masterfully carved. Due to the shape and motifs of the decor, which has a deep symbolic meaning, snuffboxes also become well-meaning amulets, because images of carp, lotus, pumpkin, peach in Chinese mythology personify happiness, health and longevity. Popular images of Confucius and his students are presented on snuff-boxes, made, like other subjects, with amazing craftsmanship.
The collection of Evgeny Zhuravlyov is placed in a hanging window in which the visitor gets an opportunity to see in detail these miniature masterpieces that have long been the object of collecting and decorating any collection of glass.
The other suspended showcase serves didactic purposes: information about the chemical composition of the glass and about what metals it is colored in a particular color is placed inside small glass vessels.
Detailed annotation tells the history of glass making – from its appearance in the Middle East to the wide development in the Black Sea basin, including the main stages of formation and the main achievements of this most important of crafts – a complex combination of science, craftsmanship and art.